MOTORISTS are being urged to avoid the Ballysimon interchange as major roadworks are continuing to upgrade the junction, which is one of the busiest in Limerick.
As part of the works, a section of the N24 is being widened and new ramps are being located to facilitate easier access off the M7.
The existing traffic lights will also be upgraded and the layout of the junction will be changed in an effort to reduce traffic delays at peak times.
Recent data compiled by Limerick County Council and the National Roads Authority shows that around 16,000 vehicles pass through the interchange every day.
Ciarán Hegarty, Senior Executive Engineer at Limerick County Council, says the works, which began last month, are due to be completed by the end of this week.
“To progress this scheme the road surfacing works are being undertaken at the site currently and are scheduled to be completed by Friday, July 20. In the meantime, lengthy delays are anticipated on the N24 and on the M7 off-ramps this week and motorists are advised to avoid this junction if possible,” he said.
Mr Hegarty says speed restrictions will remain in place on all approaches to the interchange until the works are completed.
“As part of the temporary traffic management regime a temporary 80kph speed limit is in operation on the motorway in the vicinity of the works and motorists are urged to drive with caution in respect of all approaches to the work but particularly in respect of traffic exiting from the M7 motorway at the junction. The cooperation and assistance of motorists in this regard is very much appreciated,” he said.
The works, which are expected to cost around €2m to complete, have already attracted criticism from some quarters.
Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan described the works as being like a dangerous obstacle course and he questioned why they weren’t carried out several years ago when traffic levels were much higher.